February 16, 2007

Camp Crush

I could have figured it out at Camp Comstock, I guess, but I didn't. Not having any frame of reference or the necessary language, I had no way to know that what I was feeling for the beautiful leggy counselor whose camp name was Moonbeam was a crush of the first order.

All I knew was that I wanted to follow her around like a puppy dog... and did, as much as I could. I can still feel the annoyance I felt about the existence of other campers; all I wanted was to be alone with Moonbeam and drink her in.

I didn't know yet that I was gay, didn't know that I would be taking on the challenge of winning the affection of an older woman a few more times in the years to come. But I did know that it was thrilling to try to get past her counselor persona and down to something closer to her true self.

I remember walking along the edge of the lake looking for stones with naturally occurring holes – lucky stones, according to camp lore – and trying desperately to match my pace to hers, while simultaneously trying to make it all seem natural and/or coincidental. When I managed to get her talking about her non-camp life, it felt like a break-through, and at one point, in recounting a story about her parents, she let her non-camp name slip. I immediately knew that this was yet another way for me to demonstrate my unusual maturity, and so said nothing about it, either to her or to the other girls.
But at night, after lights out, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I was the only one who knew who she really was.

Of course I never saw her again, and it was only years later, in the light of retrospect, that I realized how kind she had been to me. I haven't looked at this picture in over twenty years, but I was pretty sure I still had it. I remember the day we finished the raft, a beautiful, clear day, with me insisting that I needed a picture of not just the raft, but her in front of it. Cracking jokes and getting her to agree.

I was so pleased to have made her smile.

(Thanks to the women of Sunday Scribblings
for their continuing inspiration.
And to she who was called Moonbeam.)


Autrice DelDrago said...

I remember my crush on my best friend's big sister. My heart broke when she moved away to college - and came home a few years later married.

I wonder what ever happened to Moonbeam?

Anna said...

It's easy to understand how one can fall in love with this person.

She looks beautiful.

paris parfait said...

What a sweet story and beautiful photo!

sognatrice said...

I love this entry, especially the first paragraph. I'm sure you made Moonbeam smile for many years to come.

Stacy said...

I must know her real name.

Great, great story.

GeL(Emerald Eyes) said...

Hi Shelley,
Oh, this echos in my heart from your beautiful recollections and fine writing. "drink her in" Your memory of making her smile made me smile! See :D. Memories so sharp and clear are special gifts.

How nostalgic and so special to also have her photo. Does she have yours? Thanks for sharing that, too. I love her came name of Moonbeam. (I had named my blog "shadows in the moonlight" for several months before I changed its name to emerald eyes; however, I still love the moon.)

Elspeth said...

It's always interesting to look at a photo of someone and guess about who was taking the photograph and their relationship with the subject ... based on the expression on the subject's face. There's something innocent yet intimate in that shot which fits with your story.

gautami tripathy said...

Beautiful photo and great memories.

Mary said...

Well, that picture is so neat. It's amazing to look back and see those kinds of positive adult relationships. At least you weren't "crushed" by her.